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Teetering on the Edge

Why do kids make random noises? It's like they're making noise just to hear themselves produce sound. At any point in the day, put a recorder in my house, and kick back to a medley of (drink) fart imitations, humming, clicking, squeaking whistling, and something akin to a chirp. Add to that the microphones the twins got for their birthday and you have excessive racket. It's driving me mad.

And while we're on the subject of going insane, TURN THE DAMN LIGHTS OFF WHEN YOU LEAVE THE ROOM. Why (drink) is this such a difficult concept? As you leave the room, the light switch is conveniently located on the wall as you exit - simply flip it. Done. Easy. Why can I not drill this notion into my kids' heads?

The only time they actually turn the lights off is when they build forts and hunker down under several thousand blankets they dragged from all corners of the house. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I. Hate. Forts. It's not just the fort building that makes me nuts. It's the fort fights. "Her fort is bigger than mine." "I want a door on mine." "Your fort is encroaching on mine." They actually said that. "Encroaching." Finally, all the forts are constructed and everyone is relatively satisfied with their dwelling. And then it's cleanup time. In order to put the giant sofa pillows back in place, you practically have to go back to geometry class. Plus, they swear up and down they will put everything away, but (drink) when I remind them of this, you'd think (drink) I asked them to deep clean the septic tank.

As long as I'm airing my grievances, does anyone else detest cooking with their kids? The older ones (drink) are fine as long as they don't get in my way, but try watching a five year old pour oil from a measuring cup into a bowl. Or scoop batter into muffin tins. I can't even watch.

Which brings me to the chore app. Let me backup. Paige has been nagging me for a ridiculously expensive pair of Nike Airs. I am not budging on my negative answer, but I smelled an opportunity. I explained that no ten year old needs a pair of shoes with that price tag, especially in light of the fact that her feet are still growing. But if she wants to work for them, perhaps we can strike a deal.

When I was a kid, my mom made this amazing star chart. Jobs were (drink) assigned to each of us four kids and we earned stars which were worth different amounts for each completed task. It was a work of art and I've always felt the obligation, as a mother, to recreate, what I remember to be a positive learning experience. It's just that I hate charts. They create clutter and while I have all good intentions in the beginning, the giant posters or excel spreadsheets fail to accomplish my goal and wind up in the trash.

So when I discovered an app that allows the kids to tick off completed chores throughout the day, and I could assign appropriate monetary rewards, I was stoked. So was Paige. And the excitement spread. Suddenly all five kids were begging for chores. Setting it all up was a project. But then the real fun began. Have you ever tried to teach a kid how to Windex? Or vacuum? Or load a dishwasher? It is vexing. I know Kaleb is going to break the glass plate in the microwave soon. Plus, I'm already out $20 and it hasn't even been 24 hours. On the plus side, my laundry is now getting folded and put away which may be worth $20/day on its own.

It's a system that requires patience and tweaking, but maybe, just maybe, the end result will measure up to the legendary star chart. I'm not really holding my breath, though. My patience is dwindling by the minute.

The number of deep breaths I've had to take today has broken records. I've snapped a lot, rolled my eyes several thousand times, cursed under my breath, cursed over my breath...I am not proud. No, I take that back. I am proud. They're all still alive. I think that's really the goal these days. Cheers to that!

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